So, You Want to Work in Fashion?

The Wall Group (TWG), one of the industry's most influential management companies, has been nurturing the next generation of talent with its first-ever mentorship program. "Access is key to so many different facets of fashion and beauty, and, unfortunately, for so long privilege has played a role in determining those who get their foot in the door," says Ali Bird, senior vice president and managing director. To create opportunities for underrepresented artists, the multidisciplinary program paired six selected mentees with TWG's impressive roster of experts. As a final test, they were given full creative hair, makeup, and styling freedom for this shoot.

Power Prints

For makeup artist Ericka Douglas, who was drawn to fresh and natural tones to enhance model Juana Burga's beauty, this program made her finally feel seen. "I've admired TWG and their flourishing artists for many years, and to be ushered in among these amazing creatives gave me even more hope for my future," she says.

Hairstylist Mitchell Cantrell, who created this gorgeous updo, had an equally gratifying experience."This gave me a sense of validation and confirmation of alignment to becoming a Wall Group artist," he says.

Cantrell's mentor, legendary hair guru Danilo, is invested in helping him reach that goal. "It was important to have a very honest critique of [Cantrell's] talents and aspirations, ultimately empowering him with the knowledge and ability to confidently create and achieve his desired career path," he says. As for the patterned Versace sweater and rose statement earrings, that was all newbie stylist Robyn Victoria: "I wanted to focus on the bright, cheerful colors of winter."

Go for Gold

"A Moschino suit with an alligator tail? Who doesn't want to wear that?" says budding stylist Altorrin McIntyre when sharing his inspiration behind the flashy gold getup. Meanwhile, hairstylist Sondrea "Dre" Demry-Sanders decided straight-back cornrows would best complement model Rebekah Allred's glimmering look.

"My mentor Naeemah [LaFond, stylist to the stars] has given me so much insight through her vulnerability," says Demry-Sanders. "With both of us being Black women, she provides me with a road map to the things I'd like to manifest and how to navigate spaces to achieve it." The experience also gave makeup artist Karina Milan more confidence in navigating her career: "While there is always more to learn, Kate [Lee, Chanel makeup artist] encouraged me to see my worth, not to be afraid of establishing boundaries, and to ask for more." Lee is in it for the long haul. "Recognizing talent early on and providing the right environment for artists to grow is the lifeblood of any agency," she says. "It's needed in an industry that has been prone to snobbery and racism. I look forward to seeing how this program will progress."

For more stories like this, pick up the September 2021 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Aug. 13th.

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